Ontario Science Centre Proves Transformation is a Winning Formula

    2007's Strong Performance Numbers Bode Well for 2008

    TORONTO, Dec. 27 /CNW/ - The year 2007 will be remembered as a year for
celebration as the Ontario Science Centre completed the greatest
transformation in its 38-year history. The installation of two new permanent
art works, David Rokeby's Cloud and Stacy Levy's Lotic Meander marked the
final milestone for the Science Centre's $47.5-million Agents of Change
program in a year of precedent-setting and record-breaking accomplishments.

    Top Seven Highlights for 2007:

    -   Best ever attendance numbers during March Break, with 73,871 visitors
        passing through the doors from March 12 to 18, 2007
    -   Highest summer attendance numbers in eight years, with over
        370,000 visitors for the three month period beginning on June 1 and
        ending August 30
    -   The internationally acclaimed Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition set a
        new benchmark of 90 per cent customer satisfaction on average by
        visitors to a special exhibition(*)
    -   The inaugural Innovators' Ball attracted more than 1,000 stylemakers
        and influencers and raised a net $230,000 for community programs
    -   By opening doors to 30,000 members of the community through the
        Community Access Program, the Science Centre became more affordable
        and accessible -- an increase of 5,000 visitors over the previous
    -   CEO Lesley Lewis was appointed president of the Washington based
        Association of Science Technology Centers - the first Canadian to
        head this organization with more than 540 institutional members in
        40 countries
    -   Traffic to on-line media such as Ontario Science Centre websites,
        video downloads and podcasts reached 5.7 million -- an all time high
        for the Centre.

    "2007 was an outstanding year and the extension of our transformative
strategies into our 2008 line up means that next year shows excellent
promise," said Lesley Lewis, CEO of the Ontario Science Centre. "This
tremendous success demonstrates that visitors of all ages crave a place like
the Science Centre where they can discover their own capacity for innovation
and learn to see the world in new ways. We are no longer strictly a place for
children and families."
    The energy from last year's Agents of Change transformation is still
evident with new and provocative programming that extends the Science Centre's
reach to a broader audience. Programs such as SCI FRI -- a monthly evening
event designed for youth aged 14-24, where they can come and chill out, while
learning about and sharing ideas with others on global issues - are attracting
new audiences. Part of SCI FRI is the Siemens Challenge which encourages
innovative ideas, creativity and teamwork in order to find answers to the
challenges of the 21st century. Siemens is the Ontario Science Centre's first
"Premier Partner" and sponsor of SCI FRI. Challenges in the past have included
making a short video to demonstrate solutions to global problems such as water
conservation and the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
    Ontario Science Centre websites and online videos have attracted more
than 5.7 million visits and downloads so far this year -- from the podcasts,
polls and science updates of RedShiftNow.ca -- to videos found on popular
video sharing sites like YouTube and Yahoo. In the month of November alone,
there were more than 900,000 downloads of Science Centre videos, from
astronaut Chris Hadfield describing toilets in space to an interview with a
prototype "fembot".

    View Chris Hadfield:

    View the fembot:

    In 2008, the Ontario Science Centre will continue to challenge and engage
visitors with the premiere of Facing Mars: Would You Survive the Journey?
scheduled to open in June. This new interactive exhibition developed and
created by the Science Centre's talented scientists and craftspeople will
focus on the challenges to be overcome if we are to send humans to Mars and
explore its surface. Beginning in January 2009, this exhibition will be leased
to science centres across North America.
    In tandem with the Facing Mars exhibition, the Science Centre will be
officially reopening the newly renovated Space Hall in the new year. The Space
Hall will welcome amateur astronomers, space buffs and school groups alike,
with samples of real Moon and Mars rocks, a "rocket" chair that simulates
maneuvering in microgravity and the re-launching of Toronto's only Planetarium
later in spring 2008.
    "Underscoring our leadership in the international science centre field,
the Ontario Science Centre will host the Fifth Science Centre World Congress,
being held for the first time in North America from June 15 to 19," said Ms.
Lewis. "Themed Science Centres as Agents of Change Locally, Nationally and
Internationally, the congress will bring together some 1,000 senior leaders
and decision makers from science centres and museums around the world."

    The Ontario Science Centre uses science as the lens to inspire and
actively engage people in new ways of seeing, understanding and thinking about
themselves and the world. In 2006, the Ontario Science Centre unleashed its
bold new Agents of Change transformation initiative to the world. The launch
of the Weston Family Innovation Centre created a new, edgy experience area
specifically for teenagers and young adults while outside, an exploration
plaza TELUSCAPE, opened up its fore court to visitors and the nearby urban
community. The Ontario Science Centre is an agency of the Government of

    (*) Results of a Northstar Research Partners' Survey of visitors to the
        Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition conducted in September 2007.

For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Anna Relyea, Associate Director
of Strategic Communications: (416) 696-3273 or anna.relyea@osc.on.ca; Ellen
Flowers, Media Relations Officer: (416) 696-3154 or ellen.flowers@osc.on.ca

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